Saturday Soapbox #8: Don’t Text and Drive

The message is simple people. DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE.

DON’T DISTRACT YOURSELF WITH YOUR IPOD WHILE YOU’RE DRIVING.

DON’T SURF THE WEB WHILE YOUR DRIVING.

A week ago, my four boys and I took a road trip to northern Illinois to spend some time with my parents, to celebrate Thanksgiving early, and to go to the dentist. (What? You don’t drive 3.5 hours to go you your dentist? Then you obviously don’t have mine. He’s awesome.)

Most of this drive is interstate, and  that means 75+mph on two lanes. Fridays are the worst because people are headed somewhere. Like us, people were headed home for Thanksgiving or were just trying to make it home for the weekend. There’s definitely more aggression and distraction on Fridays.

Like the driver of the tractor trailer that damn near ran us off the road for instance.

I’m sure he was probably heading to his last drop-off before heading home for the weekend. Or maybe he was was trying to finish up so he could take a long-awaited week off with his family. Maybe he was just trying to stay awake.

Whatever he was trying to do, what he almost succeeded in doing was to put us into a guardrail as his rig swerved into our lane.

Punkin could see the driver from his seat. “He has ear buds in Mom, and he’s messing around with his iPod.”

It reminded me of an older man, I’d say a salesman by the number of shirts and jackets lined up on the pole strung from the hangers in his back seat, that I saw as we drove on Highway 20 last year. Being higher up than most in my Expedition, I could see down into his car. He was eating with one hand, drinking a coffee with the other while steering with his knee. There was a paper spread across the steering wheel, and a cell phone up to his ear.

I kid you not.

Did I mention he was going about 70 mph?

That’s some scary shiz. It scares the hell out of me if you really want to know.

No, I’m not a saint. I’ve taken calls in the car. Back in the day I texted while driving. But I have some serious cargo these days, and so do other people. There is no text or call worth hurting or possibly killing myself, my children, or any other person. You know what else I’ve realized? I’m not invincible or immune. Accidents can happen to me and mine just as they can to you and yours.

As an FYI, as of January 1, 2014, hand held cell phones will be banned in Illinois–no talking, no texting (which has already been banned) if you have to hold your phone.

Next time your cell rings or you hear a text notification, think about how important that call or text really is. Is it worth losing your life? Is it worth causing someone else to lose theirs?

This infographic is worth a look. I want to point out one thing ahead of time. The statistic for teens says that 13% admitted to texting or talking on mobile devices at the time of a crash. How high do you think that number really is?

intexticated-teens

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